Using Stress Productively

Using Stress Productively by Laura Stack, CSP, ,CPAE

We all have stress. How can you make it work for YOU? Listen to this week's podcast by Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro! (C) 2015 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]

Getting the Job Done: Five Secrets of High-Performance Teams

Getting the Job Done: Five Secrets of High-Performance Teams by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE

“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”—Joe Paterno, American college football coach. In business, we both expect and encourage teamwork. Teams understand the importance of working together on goals that align with organizational goals that move the whole organization forward. Most people make serious efforts to accomplish this, but somehow, a few teams always seem to outshine the rest. Why is this the case? Manfred Kets De Vries, writing in the European Business Review, calls teams and organizations where people consistently perform at their best “authentizotic.” The term derives from two Greek words, authenteekos and zoteekos, that translate to English as “authentic” and “vital to life,” respectively. Applied to business, … [Read more...]

Ask or Act? The Different Levels of Initiative

Ask or Act? The Different Levels of Initiative by Laura Stack #productivity

“When you believe in what you're doing and use your imagination and initiative, you can make a difference.”—Samuel Dash, American law professor and chief council of the Senate Watergate Hearings in 1974. For decades—in article after article, book after book—business and motivational writers have urged you to take more initiative in your work. They tell you it’s the only real way to become 100% committed to your organization and “own” your job. High engagement ensures high productivity, as long as you make sure you maintain a healthy work/life balance. I think most business leaders genuinely believe this. But we must be doing something wrong, because time and time again, pollsters point out that fewer than 35% of white collar employees are fully engaged, with another 50% not engaged an … [Read more...]

Take Back Your Time From Technology

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro, discusses how to make your technology work for you.   … [Read more...]

Time and Again: the 2014 American Time Use Survey

Time and Again: the 2014 American Time Use Survey by Laura Stack

Every June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the results of the American Time Use Survey for the year before. A regular publication since 2003, ATUS provides a fascinating glimpse into the habits of everyday Americans age 15 and older, from how much they sleep and watch TV to how many hours they work daily. In 2014, the BLS gathered survey data from interviews with 11,600 individuals all across the United States, in all walks of life. It turns out we Americans work harder than many people suppose, though a casual glance might suggest otherwise. Keep in mind, however, that the Survey sample included high school kids, the retired, the unemployed, the disabled, and those who hold part-time jobs as well as those who work full time.  Some averages also include weekends, holidays, … [Read more...]

Instant Productivity: Break Your Routines

Instant Productivity: Break Your Routines

How productive is your team, really? You may think you're moving along just fine, until you encounter another team whose productivity just leaves yours in the dust. Even if you're genuinely doing fine, there are simple practices that can increase your productivity from the moment you implement them.     Opting Offline Some jobs require constant Internet access, whether for answering customer chat and email questions or conducting research. However, many don't; and if you're like most people, you probably spend a little time daily checking personal email and social media. Even if you don't, some of your teammates do. Since 10 wasted minutes a day add up to over 43 hours a year, imagine how many workweeks your team's losing to the lure of the Internet annually. … [Read more...]

Stop Doing Everything at Once

Podcast: Stop Doing Everything at Once

On today's podcast, I talk about getting more done through focusing on one thing at at time. Listen now: … [Read more...]

The Motivated Coworker: How to Increase Team Productivity Even When You’re Not the Team Leader

The Motivated Coworker: How to Increase Team Productivity Even When You're Not the Team Leader by Laura Stack #productivity

“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.”—Zig Ziglar, American motivational speaker and author. Active, participative teamwork has become crucial to the modern business environment. Gone are the days when one person could anchor a team by doing everything well—or doing everything, period. Even superstar athletes like Labron James and Sidney Crosby depend on the talents and hard work of their teammates to excel. Modern business is too complex to know or do it all; this has necessarily led to specialization. We need capable people in multiple slots to accomplish specific business goals, no matter how narrow those goals—especially in this era of business agility. Ideally, your supervisor would tie you all together int … [Read more...]

Playing By the Rules: Establishing Procedures for Resolving Team Conflicts

Playing By the Rules: Establishing Procedures for Resolving Team Conflicts by Laura Stack #productivity

"You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else."—Albert Einstein, German-American physicist. With rare exceptions, first-time ballerinas don’t perform a perfect Swan Lake, inexperienced writers don’t produce their magnum opuses immediately, and brand new teams don’t slide effortlessly into perfect productivity. There’s always a learning curve, a period when individual members test their boundaries, discover where their jobs end and others begin, and yes, figure out the pecking order. You can expect some delay before high performance emerges, but you can speed the process by setting ground rules—specific procedures to ensure that all team members play well with each other. Effective teams know how to work towards mutual resolution, even when m … [Read more...]

Avoiding Distractions for Greater Productivity

Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro, gives advice on dealing with distraction. (C) 2015 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]